The roll-out of the Welsh Community Care Information System (WCCIS) is taking much longer and at a greater cost than expected, according to a report by the Auditor General for Wales.
The WCCIS is being implemented by Welsh Government and NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) across health boards and local authorities to enable staff to replace paper records with shared electronic records to deliver more efficient services.
According to the Auditor General’s report, published on Thursday 15 October, the WCCIS’s ability to provide integrated service is limited by organisations choosing to deploy the system in different ways, raising questions over value for money.
The cost of the roll out is also more than expected. So far, £30 million has been spent or committed to March 2022 by the Welsh Government and NWIS, but other costs have been met from health board and local authority budgets.
Chair of the Senedd Public Accounts Committee, Nick Ramsay MS, said that these latest concerns echo those raised in the Committee’s report on Informatics Systems in NHS Wales in November 2018:
“More than five years into the contract term, this latest report by the Auditor General paints a concerning picture about progress with the implementation and rollout of the Welsh Community Care Information System which has been promoted as the key digital plank of the Welsh Government’s plans for integrated health and social care services. Bringing together all of the organisations involved to support implementation was never going to be easy.
“However, the issues raised are a reminder of the Public Accounts Committee’s November 2018 report on Informatics Systems in NHS Wales including delays, concerns about system performance and the fundamental question of whether having a single system is necessary at all to achieve the underlying policy objective.
“The Committee will be considering the Welsh Community Care Information System in early November when it hears from the Welsh Government about developments across the wider NHS informatics landscape.”
The Senedd’s Public Accounts Committee is responsible for looking at how the Welsh Government spends its budget to ensure the Welsh public gets the best possible value for money.
The Auditor General’s report on the Welsh Community Care Information System is available here.
May 2020, the Committee announced it will return to look at issues surrounding
NHS Informatics in the autumn. The Committee’s concerns about the
systems re-emerged in May when it was revealed that two health
boards were underreporting the number of coronavirus deaths.